Swedish Language Blog

How to Make Questions Posted by on Jan 20, 2009 in Grammar

All this talk about how bad the economy is and how we are struggling in the midst of a serious recession, and guess who went on vacation?
Anna did!

When you read this post, I will be frolicking on the beaches of Antigua. Or maybe Barbuda. This year I decided not to use a Swedish tour operator, I’ve tried them all and they all offer the same vacation packages to the same destinations. More or less. This winter we thought to try something new and went with a British company. But no matter the vacation packager or charter provider, it was definitely time to escape the weather – the temperature dropped to minus 16C the morning we left.

But it’s not the weather I want to talk about today. Let’s talk about questions, instead.
Vad? What?

You can form questions in Swedish just as you do it in English.
Hur? How?


The easiest type of a question is the yes/no type. Ja/nej-frågar. You ask a question and you can answer it with a simple “yes” or “no.”
You do it in Swedish by putting the verb at the very beginning of the sentence. And voila! There’s a question! No silly auxiliary verbs here like “do.” Just flip the word order.
For example:

  • Regnar det? – Is it raining?
  • Är du på jobbet? – Are you at work?
  • Gillar du musik? – Do you like music?

Easy peasy.

The more complicated type of question is a question-word question – frågeordsfråga.
This type of question can’t be answered with just “yes” or “no.” And to make this sort of question you use “question words.” Yes, those are those pesky little guys that ask for:
what, who, when, where, how and so on.

Let’s see how it works in practice. We need a sufficiently goofy example with lots of details. How about this:

  • Min syster äter en banan i köket på morgonen. – My sister eats a banana in the kitchen in the morning.

You can ask:

  • Vad gör hon? – What does she do? – Hon äter. – She eats.
  • Vem äter? – Who eats? – Min syster. – My sister.
  • Vad äter hon? – What does she eat? – En banan. – A banana.
  • När äter hon? – When does she eat? – På morgonen. – In the morning.
  • Var äter hon? – Where does she eat? – I köket. – In the kitchen.

See? Just like in English. The question word always comes first. Then comes the verb. And what does come after the verb? Always the subject. No other words are needed.

So, the order is like that:

  • Q Word + Verb + Subject + (object) + ?

The only exception to this order is when a question word is a subject in itself:

  • Vem jobbar nu? – Who’s working now?
  • Vad hände? – What happened?

See? Again, just like in English. Next time we will examine those question words in detail.

But first you need to ask:
Who is on vacation?
Anna is!

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  1. Golnar:

    Hej Dear Anna ,
    bon voyage !!! och tack så mycket for ur lovely blog — useful information .
    To me, ur blog is like a window to sweden , to it’s people and culture 😡

  2. Golnar:

    oh , I wanted the Avtar to be like a kiss , but i dont know why it seems so angry now !!!
    any how —- much love and Tnx again .

  3. Kenia:

    Hello dear Anna!

    I keep being amazed by your writing style, it always makes me want to read more and more.
    This blog is definitely a treasure for all of those interested in swedish language and culture. You make everything so simple! even the toughest of grammar aspects.

    Yes, you’re right, this thing of forming questions is not difficult at all, even the exceptions to the rule. Luckily, it’s just like we do it in english.

    Trevlig resa!!


  4. Arsh:

    Hej Anna!
    Rub it in with the mention of vacation in Antigua and Barbados…here in Delaware it was -12 deg C this morning and a high of -6 deg during the day today:-(
    I am impressed…you, like a good teacher, even when on vacation, provide us Swedophiles with Svenska språket lessons!
    I am saying it again….yours is simply the best blog for people who are interested in both Swedish language and culture!
    ha en bra semester!